The love for volleyball makes Roger Gorayeb inseparable from his coaching post.
So when his well-being started to take a turn for the better amid a grueling battle with multiple myeloma, the seasoned mentor set his sights on a comeback.
“All my life, active ako eh, tapos ngayon paupo-upo ako. Parang hindi ko kaya, mahirap para sa akin,” Gorayeb bared.
“‘Di kaya ng sistema ng katawan ko. Buti sana [kung] sanay tayo sa paupo-upo lang.”
Still, Gorayeb was advised to avoid stressors that could aggravate his health. But the only thing that could bottle up his discomfort is the idea of sitting idle on the sidelines watching his team perform without his guidance.
“Bawal sa akin ma-stress, bawal talaga. Actually, maski PLDT, ayaw ako paupuin. Gusto nila na consultant muna,” the former National team tactician disclosed.
“Pero paano ko matitiis ‘yan, ‘di ba? Nandito ako pero wala akong magawa?”
Gorayeb then simply followed his heart, and it led him back to his beloved coaching post.
The multi-titled coach — who has won countless titles in both the collegiate and semi-pro circuits — staged his much-awaited comeback on Saturday when PLDT plunged into action in its PSL Grand Prix campaign opener.
The Power Hitters might have lost in straight sets to Sta. Lucia, but that Gorayeb made a successful return was already a triumphant moment — not just for the franchise, but also for Philippine volleyball.
Nonetheless, the rigors of coaching are still quite difficult to handle for Gorayeb.
“So medyo mahina pa katawan ko tapos ‘yung boses ko, wala,” he confided. “Hindi nga ako makapag-bukas ng bote ng softdrinks, mahina talaga. Kaya ko naman tumayo. Siyempre ‘yun lang intensity ‘pag ako nagpapatakbo, iba siyempre kaso wala akong magawa hanggang doon lang.”
But Gorayeb is not one to back down in the face of adversity.
“Kaya ko naman, kaya ko naman ‘yan. Kapag hindi ko kaya sasabihin ko naman, though medyo nahihilo-hilo ako [kagabi]. Okay lang, as much as possible nakaupo nalang ako,” he said.
At the end of the day, everyone feels grateful that Gorayeb has regained his footing. For his part, he continues to take a step further down the road to complete recovery.
“Sana magtuluy-tuloy naman pa.”